ARLINGTON, Va. — Military Clothing Sales customers looking for battle dress
uniforms are noticing sparse pickings lately, and the shortages are going to
last through the end of the summer, according to Army and Air Force Exchange
Army and Air Force clothing stores worldwide are out of stock on various
sizes of both the enhanced hot weather and temperate BDU coats and trousers,
AAFES officials said.
The shortages are happening because in "order to support the tremendous
increase in desert requirements as a result of the war in
Iraq," BDU makers have had to switch their production from sewing woodland gear to the
tan-and-brown version, Maj. Rachel Danielson, AAFES' Army program manager for
military clothing sales, said in a Wednesday e-mail response to questions from
The BDUs are on back order with the Pentagon's Defense Supply Center in
Philadelphia, AAFES spokesman Judd Anstey said in a Monday telephone interview.
But back orders are all AAFES can do to solve the problem, because DSCP is
the Army and Air Force's only authorized supplier, Anstey said. That means
AAFES can't just go out and find an alternate manufacturer to make up the
shortfall, he said.
"All we can do is monitor the situation," and constantly check on the status
of the back orders with the DSCP, Anstey said.
With just one source, first priority for the existing supply is going to
going to two groups: military personnel involved in Operation Iraqi Freedom,
and recruit induction centers, because they need their first uniforms.
So while troops in Iraq should be getting their BDUs as needed, troops
hitting Clothing Sales in preparation to deploy may have problems finding them,
according to Danielson.
"If the troops are deployed, they will not notice the shortage until they
return to home station and require replacement or additional BDUs," Danielson
wrote. "Troops preparing to deploy may require BDUs and therefore they will
notice the shortage."
This is the second time in recent years that AAFES customers have had
problems finding BDUs in the stores, AAFES officials said.
"The months after Sept. 11 [also] had tremendous impact on demand," Danielson
Danielson said she could not quantify the current shortage.
"However, we sell approximately 19,000 Temperate BDUs a month and a
not-in-stock status has a negative impact on our customers," she wrote.
The shortage is also "impacting all sizes," Danielson said, although she
noted that "our high-demand sizes are the Medium/Regulars," so there are more
of those customers to experience the shortfall.
The BDU item customers Clothing Sales customers are now having the most
trouble finding is the temperate trouser, AAFES officials said.
DSCP doesn't expect the shortages on those pants to ease until August, Anstey
said, although the center will begin a "significant increase in deliveries
starting in April."
The enhanced hot weather coats and trousers, meanwhile, should be getting
easier to find "soon," because DSCP recently sent all of its back orders out to
the stores, he said.
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